OK, fine, I give up. Weekend Beer-cap will now be a Tuesday feature, not Monday. Turns out it can be hard for folks to get things together Sunday night, myself included.
It was quite the weekend. Franz Solo and I joined a group of beer-loving friends for another epic tasting and bottle share. We indulged in a seven-year vertical of Surly Darkness, a wonderful imperial stout from Minnesota. That was followed by many other beers. Many. So many. (Sunday at work was rough.)
Anyway, I could continue to brag about drinking a slew of beers not available in New Mexico, but instead I will let the rest of the Crew talk about their more local adventures.
Brunch brews at Devon’s Wood Fired Grill
Early Sunday afternoon, I satisfied my brunch needs at Devon’s Wood Fired Grill. We had a Crew dinner at Devon’s a few weeks back and I had an itch to return. Brunch was the perfect occasion. From Devon’s 32 New Mexico craft beer options, I selected La Cumbre’s fruit smoothie of an IPA, Guavarama. It’s subtle and refreshing fruitiness paired well with Pop’s Hash, a lighter breakfast dish consisting of veggies and potatoes topped with a poached egg (I managed to resist the red chile chorizo chilaquiles, but I’ll be back). Devon’s brunch runs from 10:30 a.m. To 2 p.m. on Sundays, and it’s worth checking out for dinner and/or drinks any night of the week.
Farewell to a friendly taproom
Four of us went to Monks’ Corner on Friday night to say goodbye to the taproom in the current space at Third and Silver. When we got there just before 6:30 p.m., there were a handful of customers. But, by the time the live music started just after 7, the place was completely full. It was a festive, if slightly woeful final visit for us. Two of us had the Dark Ale and two had the Dubbel Ale. I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous for the staff who may not have jobs for a while; but, they were still very professional, and service was good despite the size of the crowd. We will miss this taproom. Hopefully there are good things to come in the very near future for Monks’.
Hopping around Santa Fe
For my weekend recap, IPA was certainly the name of the game. It was the second leg of the IPA Challenge in Santa Fe, and I guess I just couldn’t get enough hops into my system. Thursday through Saturday, due to meetings, errands, and pal hangs, I put my taste buds through hop boot camp. Whether I was preparing them for Saturday’s competition or just pounding them into soapy submission, I got around to trying three of the IPA Challenge beers around town, very much on accident.
Santa Fe Brewing Company’s “Murky,” a bigger, likely more dry-hopped version of their Reluctant Hazy IPA, was an excellent beer. I’m not at all here to battle whether hazies are here to stay. As will all styles that took some time to accept, I say, “Just make them well.” And SFBC has done so once again.
Second Street’s Hoppy Balboa felt like it pulled a few punches this year. Perhaps that was my very foamy first pour — there were draft line issues, but not cleanliness issues, mind you. Perhaps it was just pressure, but I don’t think I really ever saw this beer’s Eye of the Tiger. I’ll get back in the ring with this one soon. Until then, thanks for the puns.
Blue Corn’s Gatekeeper, the current leader in the IPA Challenge, reminded me more of a finely honed, but certainly “upped” version of their house Road Runner IPA. It’s a well-brewed beer, and I know the Blue Corn boys really worked hard on this one. I think, perhaps, it stands out because it’s clean while keeping its powerful aroma and flavor even as it warms.
All in all, you should try them all in full pours. That’s the only way to really get to know a beer, in my opinion. To all the brewers, and what you do with those wonderful hops, cheers!